‘I will not go!’ Kora folded her arms and looked away from her father.
‘It is not a choice, Kora.’ The Emperor placed a hand on her shoulder. ‘All genies of royal birth must go.’
She shrugged off his hand. ‘I know that, but why now?’ Amurru stood quietly by Kora’s globe. She strode over to him. ‘Tell them, Amurru,’ she said, jabbing a finger in the air towards her parents. ‘It is madness to send my away now.’
Amurru’s yellow eyes blinked slowly. ‘To learn how to rule you must first learn how to serve.’
She stomped her foot. This was ridiculous. …
… ‘Enough. I will argue with you no more.’ The Emperor signalled to Amurru. ‘You will leave immediately, Kora. I command it.’
The air around her began to stir. Her father’s command had activated her globe and she was being pulled in against her will. She took one last look around at her home and then glared at her parents.
‘I hate you,’ she spat. ‘I hate you both!’
Kora is royalty, daughter of Emperor and Empress genies. Their nation is at war with Vennum, who would ‘harness’ them to achieve control of their world. Kora, most powerful genie of her age, is to be sent away to Earth. It’s a normal part of royal genie experience, but she is reluctant to go now. She is sure she would be more useful staying home and helping with the war. But go she must. Then David, troubled earth teenager, accidently harnesses her to him and she must follow his every whim, grant his every foolish wish. This antagonistic pairing is exacerbated by the worsening war in Kora’s world, and David’s deteriorating home life. It is only when they acknowledge that their combined skills and knowledge may hold the key to solving their individual challenges that life begins to make some sense.
Shimmer suggests that having a genie may not be the answer to everything – particularly when that genie has issues of her own. Teenagers are often so wrapped up in their own challenges that they are unable to see those of others. Wrapped in a humorous story where trying to get your own way is a recipe for fireworks and misadventure, ‘Shimmer’ gently suggests that collaboration is more productive than banging heads. Kora’s challenges may be world-changing, but so – in their way – are David’s. Themes of empathy and collaboration sit alongside a dual-world adventure that will engage and entertain readers. Recommended for upper-primary readers.
Shimmer, Jennifer McBride & Lynda Nixon Fremantle Press 2013 ISBN: 9781922089434
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller